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I’ve Got A Fever, And The Prescription Isn’t More Cowbell

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In many ways, the reaction to Nancy Holten – a Dutch national who has lived in Switzerland since the age of eight – from residents of the Swiss village of Gipf-Oberfrick, is representative of how people react in general to “advocates” who promote confused and unclear messages in the form of single-issue campaigns.

Nancy, a 42-year old vegan and “animal-rights activist” has had her application for a Swiss passport denied for a second time on account of her attempts to ban cowbells. Local residents in Switzerland can occasionally have a say in who is granted citizenship. In 2015, the villagers stopped her application in a referendum where 144 out of 206 citizens voted against her, and the same has happened this time around.

Locals claim to be “fed up” with her challenging Swiss traditions. Nancy, who identifies as a “freelance journalist, model and drama student,” has also challenged other Swiss “traditions” involving animals such as hunting and pig races. According to this article in the Daily Mail, residents have been especially angry this time due to the media coverage Nancy has managed to acquire. Tanja Suter, a “local politician” has taken the side of the citizens maintaining that Nancy has a “big mouth” and that she doesn’t deserve a passport “if she irritates us.”

This negative reaction to Nancy should come as no surprise; whether or not the exploitation is defended on account of tradition, taste or habit, single-issue campaigns fail to educate people about why we should be taking animals seriously in the first place. In the same way that Nancy’s cowbell demands fell on deaf ears (and did nothing but annoy people), the promotion of any single-issue campaign targeting a particular use or form of exploitation will do nothing within a context in which that exploitation and all other exploitation is considered perfectly legitimate on a societal level. It all falls on deaf ears because there is no way for a non-vegan to internalise a single-issue campaign to the point that it will effect meaningful change; their core beliefs have not been challenged and whether on account of tradition, taste or habit, these justifications will continue being used because the single-issue campaign necessarily ignores the core moral issues involving animal use.

Nancy, if you’re reading this, head on over to howdoigovegan.com and read the latest Abolitionist Approach book. If you drop the single-issue campaigns and welfarism, and start doing effective abolitionist advocacy, I promise i’ll buy you your own cowbell and beater stick. Heck, you can come and play on my record, one thing I’ve always needed is more cowbell.

Artwork by aceman-13 on Deviant Art

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